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The Interview

1. What are the main elements that a playwright takes into consideration when creating a
script?
Elements that a playwright takes into consideration plot and character development,
which are the most important. Setting also becomes important after the fact for how it can
be portrayed on stage.

2. What are the main characters of a play/show/etc. that an audience looks for?
The audience is looking for characters that they can relate to or that that they can look up
to/fantasize about. A modern day audience often pulls for the villain. In Christmas Carol
and Willy Wonka, the audience looks forward to the "bad guy" either changing or getting
what they deserve. In last year's production of Radium Girls, play based on true story of
the girls who all died from radium poisoning by painting the watch dials for men at war
during WWII, the audience identified with the weak, helpless girls...girls being taken
advantage of by society. This is especially important since the production of the play
happened during the water crisis, Flynt Michigan.
3. What types of characters seemed to be favored by audiences generally?
As stated in question 2, the villain or the character in complete contrast the hero/the
everyday man seems to be favored generally. They like the character that is bigger than
life or the one portrayed with believable, realistic attributes. In Zombie Prom, the
protagonist is the rebel young man who just wants to be himself, and the audience is
attracted to his position of standing up for self. The audience hates the villain "the
teacher" for putting him down. It is only until she reveals that she also has a past that was
full of rebellion do they identify with her.
4. In terms of romance dramas, what male protagonist character(s) tend to be preferred?
The audience prefers the vulnerable man; the man who eventually wins with the big
heart. Phantom of the Opera is a great example. The phantom is essentially the villain,
but his larger than life, masked, lonely self makes him attractive to the audience. They
want to go to a play to escape or to better help them understand their own world.

5. In terms of romance dramas, what female protagonist character(s) tend to be preferred?

The audience prefers the strong woman with the soft heart for her family the woman
who knows what she wants but can still be tender to others. Continuing with the Phantom
of the Opera example, Christine is loved because she is innocent, kind and refuses to see
just the bad side of the Phantom. This timeless story parallels Beauty and the Beast and
what people looked for ages ago.
6. What does a playwright do to his/her play to appeal to both genders of his/her audience?
The playwright tries to make sure there is some balance of comedy and romance or
violence and romance. The playwright tries to create believable life scenarios.
7. How does clothing/costume choices reveal motifs about the characters?
The time period drives costumes, and then the clothing of the time becomes motif. Color
is important in costume and in lights. Lots of reds are used for passion, black for
mystery/death etc. A hat may become significant if used over time like Robin Hoods hat.
8. How does the physical appearance of the characters reveal motifs about the characters?
Obviously, a male that is supposed to be strong and head of household might be portrayed
with height, stature, (taller than his family); the classic housewife smaller, feminine in
nature. The role dictates the motif. Time period dictates the appearance of character. You
(referring to me) are right some television shows use the stereotypical hair color, etc. but
not as much in plays anymore, unless the plays are trying to keep integrity of the original.
In many cases modern plays look to do the opposite and break the stereotypes. The image
portrayed is more about what is in a director's head. He or she already envisions "a mean
girl from the west coast...tall, thin and blonde or like in Dearly Departed, the mean girl is
of different ethnicity/race and has complete opposite look.
9. Does the plot affect the personality of a character?
Yes, plot becomes the actual motivation for the character. An actor must read/study the
entire play; understand the conflict before they can form their stage character. For
example, we (referring to the Brookwood Theater Department) are currently producing
The Canterville Ghost. When one first hears ghost, we think of the scary, haunting figure
with supernatural powers. While this stereotype is part of the show, the main part centers
on the past of the ghost and his need for peace in the afterlife. The ghost must be able to
pout and act pitiful winning the audiences heart to some degree. Without reading the play,
analyzing individual lines that create plot and motivation, the actor would not understand
this.

All of this is why most plays like Broadway plays, etc. will send their serious contenders
for the part the script. They want to see them in action to the plot not in reaction to the
title or the play produced before.